Page 192 - MIGRATION

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MIGRATION, MEMORY, HERITAGE: SOCIO-CULTURAL
APPROACHES TO THE BULGARIAN-TURKISH BORDER
dual citizenship. Sometimes what accounts for the interest is also the desire to avoid mandatory
military service in Turkey or to escape from the ‘ruling hand’ of parents and the control of familiar
social environment. In such cases the goal is to study ‘at all cost’ and it does not matter what
exactly. Another motivational factor is that the education acquired in Bulgaria is thought of in
terms of a ‘pass’ to Europe.
19
Along such lines we identify the presence of particular strategies for
‘educational tourism’
which are manifestations of yet another type of
‘return’
across the border whereby the studying
in Bulgarian institutions of HE is conceived of as a means of pleasantly spending a certain period
of time or as a means of freely crossing different borders, or as a motive in postponing a certain
life choice, or as a condition of the opportunity to become more fluent and competent in the
Bulgarian language.
This ‘educational tourism’ is related to a range of
strategies for border crossing
in the most
general sense, strategies employed by the ‘second generation’ of migrants (the children of
Bulgarian out-migrants at the end of the 20 century) as a ‘return’,
20
so as to ensure a better social
and economic mobility for themselves.
3.1. Strategies of playing with ‘dual citizenship’
when admitted
to/from
Bulgarian
universities
from/to
Turkish institutions of HE
Bulgarian out-migrants to Turkey who would like their children to be admitted to a good
university have developed particular strategies for ‘double play’ according to their dual status and
dual citizenship (or lack thereof ). For instance those Bulgarian out-migrants who migrated later,
after 1989 (between 1990 and 1994), and who did not automatically get Turkish citizenship like the
previous waves of migrants, have a permanent residents status and in recent years intentionally
refrain from applying for citizenship. In this way their children sit for exams in Turkey as foreigners.
Their offspring, even if born in Turkey, are in practice Bulgarian citizens. It is until 2010 however
that they could take advantage of this law and the entailing strategies for ‘going around’ the rule
and playing with this double social position.
3.2. Strategies for taking advantage of education in Bulgarian institutions of HE
Those are in place since it is economically beneficial as compared to studying in universities
in Turkey. Moreover, a prospective study at a Bulgarian university bears less cost for achieving
something which anyway will not guarantee future employment but will certainly carry social
prestige with it. For example, in the words of parents who have supported their child through
university, “Still it is easy here, it’s cheap and in the end you have a degree from an EU country…
this is key” (Interview with a student in Kirdjali).
19 Snezhana Metodieva, chief expert in the Higher Education Directorate of the Ministry of Education, shared
similar observations. See Round table 2012 (288-296), as well as Mila Maeva 2012.
20
‘Return-here’
which – since the ‘lived-in context’ of their parents is absent – is more in the nature of ‘
going-
there’
. Very often our respondents state that they study in Bulgaria because their parents insisted on it.